Vail order allows only families to gather |

Vail order allows only families to gather

Eagle County is currently in the orange level of the state’s COVID dashboard. More severe stages bring more severe restrictions.

Eagle County is currently in the orange level of the state’s COVID dashboard. More severe stages bring more severe restrictions.

Case numbers for COVID-19 are rising in Eagle County, and just about everywhere else. To save the new ski season, Vail officials are taking new measures to slow the spread, limiting virtually all gatherings to only family members. The order is set to expire Dec. 8.

Vail Town Manager Scott Robson, with the approval of the Vail Town Council, on Monday amended an emergency order that’s been in place since March 13.

The order states:

“… Private gatherings may only include individuals from the same family.”

“For indoor dining … Only members of the same household may be seated together.”

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Vail Town Councilmember Jenn Bruno said much of the virus’ spread lately has come from private gatherings, with only negligible spread from bars, restaurants and retail shops.

“If we all make a concerted effort in the next couple of weeks, we might have an impact on the season,” Bruno said. “We’re asking our neighbors to sacrifice a little right now… we believe we’ll prevail by having a full season.”

Eagle County is currently at the orange, high-risk stage of the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. Restaurants, gyms, offices and other businesses are currently limited to only 25% of capacity. Moving into the “red” phase further limits on occupancy. State officials last week added a new “purple” phase to the dashboard — essentially another state shutdown.

Vail Town Councilmember Travis Coggin said he believes the town is now at a “critical tipping point” in trying to contain the spread of the virus.

Coggin acknowledged he’s “struggling” with the need for the new restrictions, but said it’s necessary.

“This is what we need to do,” Coggin said, adding that there’s no federal relief in sight to help businesses and laid-off workers.

“It’s dramatic, but we’re not trending in the right way,” Coggin said. “We’ve got to buckle down.”

While Vail’s ski season has begun, and Beaver Creek opens this week, Coggin noted we’re still about three weeks away from the crush of the Christmas holiday season.

“Luckily the quarantine time is 14 days,” he said, adding this is a good time to take advantage of that fact.

Coggin noted that Vail forever has taken an “education, then enforcement” approach. He expects that to remain true with this new order.

“I want people to have some personal responsibility,” Coggin said. “I know it’s tempting (to have private parties) when bars and movie theaters are closed.”

People want to see their friends, Coggin said. But, he added, “Don’t you want your friends to be able to pay their bills and have jobs?… Our ability to control our future is now.”

The order

• Takes effect Tuesday at 7 a.m.

• The order limits private gatherings to family members only.

• At restaurants, only family members will be seated together.

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